Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting-with wits and words and secret alliances.

In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.

What can I say about this book? I loved it. It's told in first person from Meliara's point of view and that works perfectly for the story. You're never quite sure what's really going on, just as Mel has the same problems. This is a YA novel, but it doesn't really feel young. Or at least it feels almost timeless. There's magic, action, a bit of romance (you can see it coming, but Mel certainly doesn't!) and it all combines into a fabulous fantasy novel.

There's a lot of intrigue going on, and because it's told from Mel's POV and she's not well-versed in those matters, you often have to wonder who to trust. And quite frankly, I liked that. It kept me turning the pages for more clues as to what Mel should do. And well, for more Shevraeth. :-) I loved her encounters with him.

The first half of the book is about Mel and her brother Bran's revolt against the king. The second half deals with the aftermath as Mel ends up at court. And there's a cute short story at the end dealing with a birthday surprise.

So I definitely definitely recommend this book. It's just so darn good. All of it. Already bought Inda from Amazon and it's on its way here.


Mailyn said...

OMG I've been DYING to read this! You loved it? Ohhhh I need to get my hands on this. Mehehehe.

Nicole said...

Go, read it! It's part of Amazon's 3 for 4 deal. :-) I got mine from the library, but I think I'm going to have to pick up my own copy sometime.

Nicole said...

I mean 4 for 3. Yeesh

CindyS said...

Okay, I just think it's funny that the blurb says how she will have to learn how to fight with her wit and the cover has her with a black eye. Now that is classic! Still, I love the cover.


Jane said...

Looks awesome. I googled her name and ebooks and she has a ton of ebooks but not this one! argh. I hate penguin. I'll have to pick this up in the bookstore.

Dance Chica said...

You know, I just recently put this on my wishlist? It was on my Amazon recommedations. Cool. Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed it!